“Sister, wake up! Guess what we got for Christmas? Sister, look!”
I open my eyes and see my two younger sisters, four and five, kneeling at the side of my bed, playing with Play Dough. I’m half awake, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew it wasn’t Christmas yet and the thought occurred to me that I bought Play Dough for a classmate as a gift for our class party that was the next morning. Wait a minute! I jumped out of bed and looked at my sisters, happy as clams, playing with the Play Dough.
“What did you two do?” I ran out of my room and into our small living room. I see the Christmas tree with lights blinking and the ice sickles twinkling. There is the desk lamp plugged into the wall and sitting on the floor next to the furnace. It is my Grandfather’s gift. There is a bright sweater thrown on the floor that is my Aunt’s and a brand new brown purse that is my Grandmother’s. There are baby dolls and little toys everywhere. I stand with my mouth hanging open and stare at the mess. My two sisters had opened every single gift under the tree. Being the older sibling of three, I did my duty and promptly went to tell my parents.
My parents come running into the living room and stood much like I did and stared at the disaster. There were opened boxes and presents lying everywhere. The Christmas wrapping paper is ripped to pieces, bows and ribbons are on the chairs and couch. Everything is covered in flour, including my two sisters. Flour?
My mother walked into the kitchen to find the gas oven door wide open and cake pans on the racks. There are eggs, cracked egg shells, spilled milk and flour all over the floor. Little feet and hand prints are all over the stove, walls and everything they touched. It didn’t take much to decipher where they had been and what they had gotten into.
Mama said, “What in the world?” as she walked over to the stove. They had managed to turn the oven on and Mama quickly turned it off and slammed the oven door.
My sisters chimed together, “We made cake!”
I started laughing and my parents ordered me back to bed. I got as far as the hallway and peeked around the corner at the show.
Daddy was so angry I could see him shaking. He told my sisters to turn around and face the wall until he decided what to do with them.
Daddy sat in one chair and Mama sat in the other, taking in the scene. They were speechless. Mama covered her mouth with her hand and Daddy said, “Don’t you dare laugh.” Mama smiled behind her hand and ducked her head to hide her laughter. My sisters looked at each other and grinned.
Finally, my Daddy got up and said, “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you but I have to spank you now.” He proceeded to paddle their little bottoms. The air filled with their cries and I felt terrible for tattling on them. I went to bed and Mama began to clean up.
The next day was school day and I was frantic about the gift I was supposed to take. There was no way to salvage the Play Dough. So my mother did the only thing she could think of. She found a small piece of Christmas wrap from the shredding of the night before, and wrapped another present for my classmate. A brand new pair of panty hose. She shoved it into my hands and sent me to school. I was mortified and took my name off of the gift.
When my classmate opened her gift, without the tag, she just stared at it. The class burst into laughter and wanted to know who it was from. When no one responded, my classmate just smiled and said, “Just what I needed, a pair of panty hose.”
Every Christmas, my sisters and I go down memory lane and retell the story and when I smell Play Dough, I think of my two sisters, cake and the panty hose. To this day, I’ve never told my classmate that gift was from me.
*Author's note: This is a true story
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